rights that can contribute to the development of acritical citizenry able to sustain and play a part inthe attainment of all other rights, and in promoting aculture of democracy and peace.
2. States are duty-bearers and must respect,protect and fulﬁll human rights, includingthe right to education.
This implies strengthening public education systemsthat respond to the obligations States have subscribedto in various human rights instruments
. These legal instruments oblige States as duty-bearers to respect,protect and fulﬁl the right to education. Paramount isthe obligation of States to ensure free, compulsory anduniversal education, at least in primary education andprogressively beyond, to encompass secondary andhigher education
. The requirement of free educationis unequivocal; disrespecting this jeopardises therealization of the right to education, and can behighly regressive in effect
. Recognising Statesas duty-bearers also implies robust accountabilitymechanisms, making governments responsible for theircommitments and obligations under human rights law
while at the same time regulating private educationprovision, which must be under the scrutiny of publiccontrol. For rights to have meaning, effective remediesmust be available to redress violations
, which entitlecitizens to demand State reparation using national,regional or international mechanisms of justiciability.
3. The right to education begins at birth andis lifelong.
Education must be equally available and accessiblenationwide, whether in urban or rural settings, within asafe environment, with good conditions and infrastructure
5 These include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), theInternational Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966),the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), the Convention on theElimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979), International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965),Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) and the UNESCOConvention against Discrimination in Education (1960).6 Committee of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment 13, 1999.7 Committee of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment 11, 1999.8 Responsibility of Governments must be strengthened in the Post-2015Development Agenda – Press Release, UN Special Rapporteur for the Rightto Education, Kishore Singh, 2013.9 General Comment No. 5 Committee on the Rights of the Child: “General measuresof implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child”, 2003
and no obstacle of geographic, discriminatory oreconomic nature, throughout the entire educationcycle. This includes early childhood, primary, secondary,technical and vocational as well as university education.It furthermore includes literacy and adult education, inthe perspective of lifelong learning
. Recognising thatthe right to education begins at birth contributes tostrengthening children´s rights to protection and otherrelated rights. Political will to respond to all stages anddimensions of the right to education must be clearly speltout in post-2015 development and education agendas.At the same time, the importance of linking formal, non-formal and informal education should be underlined.
4. Adult education and literacy in a lifelonglearning framework are an integral partof the right to education.
International Human Rights instruments enshrine theright to education for all ages
, emphasizing that theright to fundamental education is not limited by age,race, class or gender and that it applies to children,young people and adults, including the elderly.Nevertheless, adult education and literacy in a lifelonglearning context have not received the attention theydeserve, and must be clearly prioritized in international and regional frameworks, as well as national andlocal government policies, and reﬂected accordinglyin post-2015 development and education agendas.Popular Education, through its practice and vision of citizenship, its intercultural perspective and its linkingof learning with the environment, has given vitality toadult education and literacy. It is important that policiesand programs focused on adult education recognizethe cultural heritage of adults, their knowledge,representations, expectations and skills as well as theircontexts and needs. An emphasis on the educationof women is of paramount importance, representinga fundamental commitment towards gender equalityand non-discrimination, and is strongly related to theachievement of dignity, respect and justice.
10 Progress has been made in primary education and yet at least 10% of primary-school-age children globally, or over 60 million, are still not inschool. The other levels of education lag much behind: insufficient accessto early childhood education and secondary education is especially evidentin low-income countries, where only 15% of children attend early childhoodeducation and where lower-secondary gross enrolment ratio is just 52% in2010. Furthermore, in terms of adult literacy, 774 million adults are still unable to read and write, 64% of whom are women.11 Committee of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment 13, 1999.